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FILE PHOTO: Displaced Palestinians shelter in UNRWA-affiliated school, in Deir Al-Balah
FILE PHOTO: Displaced Palestinians, who fled their homes due to Israeli strikes, shelter in a UNRWA-affiliated school, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, in Deir Al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip April 23, 2024. REUTERS/Ramadan Abed/File Photo Image: Reuters/Ramadan Abed
world

Israel says Rafah assault looms; massive Gaza airstrikes end weeks of relative calm

24 Comments
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Dan Williams

Israeli warplanes pounded the northern Gaza strip for a second day on Wednesday in a fierce assault that has shattered weeks of comparative calm, and Israel said it was moving forward with plans for an all-out assault on Rafah in the south.

After weeks of reduced fighting following an abrupt Israeli pullback at the start of this month, Palestinians at both ends of the Gaza Strip were again fleeing for their lives from bombing they described as some of the war's worst.

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government said Israel was "moving ahead" with its plans for a ground operation on Rafah but gave no timeline.

Western countries, including Israel's closest ally the United States, have pleaded with it to hold back from attacking the city on Gaza's southern edge, which is sheltering more than half the enclave's 2.3 million people.

A senior Israeli defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Israel was poised to evacuate civilians ahead of its attack and had bought 40,000 tents that could house 10-12 people each. All that remained was for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to give the order.

Displaced people sheltering in Rafah are weighing whether to flee again. Tamer Al-Burai, who fled from Gaza City and is now living in Rafah in a cluster of tents with seven households of extended family, said the entire group was heading for the coast of Khan Younis to the north to try to find a new spot "since Israel sounds more serious in its threats this time".

"We have women, children, elderly and sick people, who may face problems escaping should the invasion happen suddenly," he told Reuters over a chat app. "Invasions happen under heavy fire and people die as they leave. So we decided we should leave earlier."

Aya, 30, who has been sheltering with her family in a school, said they were afraid to stay but did not know where was safe. She had heard of families who fled to Khan Younis but whose tents caught fire when shells crashed nearby: "Where do we go?"

At the opposite end of the Gaza Strip, the city of Beit Lahiya came under massive shelling for a second day on Wednesday, a day after the Israeli military ordered residents out of four districts declared a "dangerous combat zone".

Israel said its operations there targeted areas from where the armed wing of Hamas-aligned Islamic Jihad had fired rockets at two Israeli border settlements on Tuesday.

Israel has said it will eradicate Hamas following the militant group's rampage in southern Israel on Oct. 7 in which 1,200 people were killed and 253 were taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

The war, now in its seventh month, has killed more than 34,000 Palestinians, according to Gaza health authorities, who say thousands more are feared buried in rubble. The offensive has laid to waste much of the enclave, displacing most of its 2.3 million people and creating a humanitarian crisis.

In the past 24 hours, Israeli strikes have killed at least 79 Palestinians and wounded 86, the Gaza Health Ministry said.

Residents in the north, many of whom have started to return to homes abandoned in the first phase of the war, described some of the most intense bombing since the war's early weeks.

"We don't know why this is all happening. Is it because we returned home and we finally got some aid through after months of starvation, and the Israelis didn't like that?" said Mohammad Jamal, 29, a resident of Gaza City, near Zeitoun, one of Gaza's oldest suburbs.

"It is as if the war started again. As if it is just happening, they burnt up the place," he told Reuters via a chat app.

Medics said an Israeli air strike against a group of people in Nasser Street in the heart of Gaza City had killed three people and wounded others. Palestinian journalist Amena Hmaid and one of her children were killed in an Israeli air strike on Gaza City's Beach refugee camp, her husband said.

In other parts of Gaza, two people were killed in a strike on a house in Rafah, four were killed when a missile hit a group standing outside a supermarket in the Al-Nuseirat refugee camp and one was killed in a strike on a house in Deir Al-Balah, central Gaza, Palestinian health officials said.

In the Nasser hospital complex, the main medical facility in the south, authorities said they had recovered more bodies from a mass grave found there, taking the total to 334.

Palestinians say Israeli troops buried corpses there with bulldozers to cover up crimes. The Israeli military denies this although it says its troops dug up some bodies at the site and reburied them after testing to make sure no hostages were there.

Israel has been threatening since February to launch an all-out assault on Rafah, where it says thousands of Hamas fighters and many of the movement's leaders are sheltering.

Washington has called on its ally to hold off, and says it thinks there are other ways Israel could meet its military objectives. But there are increasing signs that Israeli officials are serious about pressing ahead with a plan to evacuate civilians so they can storm the city.

Video circulating online appeared to show rows of square white tents going up in Khan Younis, a city some 5 km (3 miles) from Rafah. Reuters could not verify the video but reviewed images from satellite company Maxar Technologies which showed tent camps on Khan Younis land that had been vacant weeks ago.

An Israeli government source said Netanyahu's war cabinet planned to meet in the coming two weeks to authorise civilian evacuations, expected to take around a month.

© Thomson Reuters 2024.

©2024 GPlusMedia Inc.


24 Comments

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It is known that occupier breach many international law, now they take to next level, mass grave.

https://www.salon.com/2024/04/24/mass-graves-of-palestinians-point-to-serious-violations-of-international-law-un-official-says/

-1 ( +7 / -8 )

It is known that occupier breach many international law, now they take to next level, mass grave.

Weird, I read through your article and nowhere in it did it say Israel was responsible for killing anyone and throwing them in a mass grave. Did you link the right article?

-6 ( +2 / -8 )

Rafah is the last base of the people of Gaza. First, they moved them from the north of Gaza to the south, and now they plan to evict them from there as well

Oh, from their own land!

How many children were killed and how many children were orphaned. The world did not stop Israel. But the people of Gaza stood.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Israelis are just as dysfunctional as Hamas is ,why can Jews and Muslims live side by side in America and not in Israel

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

More unobstructed bias by the good people that sign off on content at JT. Deliberately stoking the fires and anti Israel sentiment, yet again. This article was a bit shorter than the norm though. What happened?

"We don't know why this is all happening. Is it because we returned home and we finally got some aid through after months of starvation, and the Israelis didn't like that?" said Mohammad Jamal, 29, a resident of Gaza City, near Zeitoun, one of Gaza's oldest suburbs

That’s some good journaling right there!

-6 ( +3 / -9 )

Israel declare war on American,it will be returned in kind, especially when protestors or paying their bill

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

They are bunch of malcontents, trying to get America to support the Protocol of the Genocidal Elders ,and complaining while freeloading off the same people,that taxes are used to aid Israel,only America has received from Israel is a bunch of hell

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Biden administration continues to provide ammunition for the impending massacre in Rafah. Complicit.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

There are other sources of information on this carnage and it is disingenuous to say "well JT didn't specifically say x y or z " so we don't know what happened.

At present, The President of the European Community is calling for an investigation into the 300 plus bodies found buried by bulldozer, some with hands bound with cable ties {obviously held as prisoners } around the latest hospital to be destroyed.

Those excusing a genocide before our eyes and eyes cant call the head of the EU an "antisemite ", a "Hamas supporting terrorist " or with that false plaintiff cry "it's a blood libel "....the whole world now knows the true nature of the current state of Israel and it's army of child killers.

And as an aside, how many of the promised investigations of prior murders of innocents have taken place in IDF Tribunals, or in Civil Courts for murders by settlers {lol'''brigands with guns more accurately } with results published so we can see ""The only democracy in the ME "as a true functioning modern country ?

Answer...none.

Gideon Levi prominent Israeli Jew and journalist with Haaretz describes how the people of Israel seem consumed with a blood lust and vengeance.

That about sums things up.

-1 ( +4 / -5 )

hamas needs to learn to learn to live side by side in this world peacefully with israel and the uk and the us etc., or they’ll very shortly be living peacefully in the next world. it’s easy. surrender and join the modern age - Tom Selleck

Israel is engaged in the longest ongoing occupation in modern history. Over half a century and counting. Maybe Israel needs to join the modern age.

In the great game of chicken or egg which came first? The brutal occupation of Palestine or the formation of Hamas? The answer is the occupation. By several decades. Extremism is the obvious consequence of generations of brutality and suppression.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

In the great game of chicken or egg which came first? The brutal occupation of Palestine or the formation of Hamas? The answer is the occupation. By several decades.

You’re leaving out a big chunk: when the Palestinians rejected the partition plan and immediately started attacking Israel in 1948. They started it.

-4 ( +3 / -7 )

40,000 tents for 1.2 million? who the Hel$$ is doing the math here?

If Netanyahu is serious about saving lives it is much easier to allow the people who fled the north to return to their homes and evacuate Rafah original residence to these 40,000 tent camp.

I doubt very much that Netanyahu want's that, the plan is to Occupy the north of Gaza with minimal Palestinians .

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Capuchin,

""In the great game of chicken or egg which came first? The brutal occupation of Palestine or the formation of Hamas? The answer is the occupation. By several decades. Extremism is the obvious consequence of generations of brutality and suppression.""

Well put, the Palestinians have endured 75 years of Occupation, Discrimination, Apartheid, Land Grapping, Homes burning and destruction, Jailing without trials, Rapes, and Theft by settlers and yet Israel and it's backers expect the Palestinians to just stand by and do nothing!!!

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

You’re leaving out a big chunk: when the Palestinians rejected the partition plan and immediately started attacking Israel in 1948. They started it. -JboneInTheZone

According to the Ottoman Census of 1878 3% of Palestine was Jewish. In the 1947 partition plan 55% of the land was offered to Israel. Jews in 1947 only privately owned around 7% of the land.

You'd have to be totally irrational to accept such an agreement and totally disingenuous to try and demonize a group of people for not agreeing to such an obvious injustice.

Also, Palestine has never had a standing army. Unlike Israel in 1948.

Again, chicken and egg. Unless you want to start talking about the bronze age.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

"Relative calm" Yes, wonderful calm. The flagrant murder of international aid workers. Uncovering of mass graves. Children getting their faces blown off playing foosball. What a wonderful time to be alive.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

According to the Ottoman Census of 1878 3% of Palestine was Jewish. In the 1947 partition plan 55% of the land was offered to Israel. Jews in 1947 only privately owned around 7% of the land.

That doesn’t mean that Arabs owned the rest. It was in fact mostly public land owned by the British who had the right to give it to whomever they wanted

You'd have to be totally irrational to accept such an agreement and totally disingenuous to try and demonize a group of people for not agreeing to such an obvious injustice.

What “injustice”? Palestinians didn’t own the majority of the land that the British controlled at the time.

Also, Palestine has never had a standing army. Unlike Israel in 1948.

Then maybe they shouldn’t attack countries with standing armies

Again, chicken and egg. Unless you want to start talking about the bronze age

I don’t think historical claims to land are a basis for who should control it

-8 ( +2 / -10 )

They trying equate these students protest as being anti semetic,which their is no law on the book,they say they are nazis,which is a lie ,they are the one that has a historic ties to Nazism,in which 10 of thousand of Jews fought for Hitler

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Rafah will be the bloody cherry on the ruins of Gaza, the final straw of the Israeli occupation that broke the back of all the legislation on human rights. We only need to imagine the ICJ & ICC convening and ruminating on "p!ausible" genocide in 1941 when the Final Solution began in earnest as the "Fog of War" descended on the Eastern Front. The verdicts would not have prevented the horrendous crimes against humanity any more than they have today, yet YouTube and the mountain of evidence before the "lying eyes and ears" of the world gives us no excuse to say, as did many Germans, "we didn't know" what the IDF and its enablers have been perpetrating. This is the most shameful preventable genocidal slaughter the world has ever SEEN! The cliche, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” begs the question the dead cannot ask: where are all these "good men?

0 ( +4 / -4 )

A spokesperson for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government said Israel was "moving ahead" with its plans for a ground operation on Rafah but gave no timeline.

This is excellent news as Israel continues towards its goal of eliminating the terrorist occupiers on Israel's land in Gaza.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

So now that Israel orchestrated a problem with Iran to get a sympathy vote, the massacres and extermination begins again!

2 ( +6 / -4 )

Israel is engaged in the longest ongoing occupation in modern history. Over half a century and counting. 

Really? What country has Israel been occupying for over half a century?

So now that Israel orchestrated a problem with Iran to get a sympathy vote, the massacres and extermination begins again!

Who is Israel trying to get sympathy from? They don't care about sympathy. Just need to clean out the terrorists from Israel's land in Gaza.

-5 ( +2 / -7 )

There is NOTHING in Rafah, the majority are Women, Children, and the Elderly.

Hamas with it's hostages are long gone and probably under the IGF nose.

Going into Rafah will have the same outcome as what happened in Gaza city, Khan Yunis, and the rest of Gaza which is a total failure with ZERO results.

Netanyahu hopes to cut off what he calls Hamas ""Life Line"" by closing the south border with Egypt, but Hamas has several tunnels going into Israel and Egypt where plenty of Israeli and Egyptian weapon dealers selling weapons to anyone with $$.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

zibala

Today 12:01 pm JST

Who is Israel trying to get sympathy from?

Your only attempt at claiming Israel is legitimate is to try and claim no country existed.

Well Kosovo was never a country but the world decided it had the right and that Serbia was an occupation force.

No country of South Africa existed until the European settlers created it, but the world decided that it's ethnic based existence like Israel was unacceptable!

And the list goes on!

Your claim Israel once existed 2 millenniums ago is irrelevant, thousands of civilizations/countries have existed, came and went!

Your using 2000 years ago (oh by the way "Israel" as you claim was conquered multiple times dispersed reconquered again and again).

So please stop with the false claims!

Really? What country has Israel been occupying for over half a century?

The USA for one and it worked because right after it's little fake victimhood, Israel got it's billions in more aid!

DNA shows that the Druze (83% regional DNA) and Palestinians (72% regional DNA) have been in the region unbroken even before ancient Israel in comparison to the Ashkenazi that aren't European 58% and 20% DNA from the region! Or the sephardic and mizrahi that are between 30% and 50% DNA from the region with the majority being North African and Persian DNA.

So yes they are Invaders and occupiers.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

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